When symptomatic, an inguinal hernia usually causes a burning or aching bulge on the side of the pubic bone, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include pain, weakness or pressure in the groin, and the discomfort may be exacerbated by activities such as bending or lifting. In males, an inguinal hernia may cause swelling or pain around the testicles if the intestine pushes into the scrotum. However, some hernias have no symptoms and go unnoticed until a routine exam.
The bulge created by the hernia often appears more pronounced when the patient stands, Mayo Clinic explains. Coughing or straining may also increase the size of the bulge. Most of the time, inguinal hernia patients can press the hernia back inside the abdomen, especially when in a reclined position.
Individuals with inguinal hernias may notice a discomfort in the groin area, Mayo Clinic states. It is common to feel pain, weakness or pressure, especially when straining. Some patients report a feeling of heaviness or a dragging sensation in the groin.
When the intestine is trapped and the herniated portion can’t slide back into the abdomen, the inguinal hernia may become strangulated, restricting blood flow to the intestine, Mayo Clinic notes. This painful, life-threatening condition causes symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate and a red, purple or darkened hernia bulge.
An inguinal hernia develops when the small intestine or abdominal fat pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states. Direct inguinal hernias usually affect adult males and occur when long-term strain, aging or surgery cause the abdominal muscles to weaken. An indirect inguinal hernia is a congenital defect that occurs when the lining of the abdominal fails to close completely during fetal development. Indirect hernias are more common and often manifest in infancy, but they can also appear well into adulthood.